Brighton Magazine

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Selected Brighton Magazine Article

Thursday 21 July 2016

Sketch Drugs & Rock n Roll: Life & Times Of Renowned Musician & Producer 'Youth'

Youth has been there, seen it and done it. He can go from the giddy heights of producing albums by the biggest superstars on the planet –from Paul McCartney and Pink Floyd ,with records he's worked on having sold 20 million worldwide – to the deepest and weirdest underground dance scenes in dark basements and far flung corners of the planet. 

From the wild and combative sound barrage of Killing Joke via untold blissed-out ambient and acid house vistas and the mainstream song structures of Crowded House and The Verve (his work on Urban Hymns won him a BRIT Award for Best Producer, while the record itself won Best Album) to pure pop. 

From creating some of the UK's first ever hip hop beats back in the early eighties to pioneering brand new 21st century methods for sonic immersion. 

He's been a member of The Orb, Brilliant, Blue Pearl and, of course, Killing Joke, played bass for Kate Bush, and remixed everyone from U2 to Siouxsie & The Banshees, De La Soul, A Guy Called Gerald, Malcolm McLarenand Marc Almond. 

The man born Martin Glover, and occasionally known as Orion or Pig Youth, has claim to be one of the most adaptable and diverse musical figures of the modern age. 

He continues to influence generations of producers and musicians, and perhaps most potently of all, he's possessed of that rare alchemy that allows a producer to bring out the inner qualities of an unlikely song and transform it into a hit. 

As Paul McCartney says:"I think it"s good to have someone to bounce ideas off of. Youth is a very easy guy to work with: he"s easy-going, and has a great attitude to life, but he's also hard working. 


"I like working with someone, and I don"t need full control all of the time... but you do have to admire the person you"re working with, to do that."

Along came punk, and the realisation that he could just get stuck in and actually have a life in music. 

"I missed 1976," he smiles ruefully, "because I stayed in school that year." 

But by late '77 he realised he couldn't wait any longer and although he had a scholarship to Chelsea College of Art lined up, he instead answered an advert in Melody Maker, charmed his way through an audition despite never having picked up a bass guitar before ("to be honest I think they just liked the fact I was young," he says), and ended up on a 35 date tour with The Rage.The Rage never recorded. 

This was the beginning of his life in music, the beginning of his life as Youth (originally "Pig Youth", a pun on reggae toaster Big Youth), the beginning of the bass being his main instrument –and it would lead directly to the formation of Killing Joke in 1978. 

Youth's career as producer started at the same time: another band he briefly joined was The Four Be Twos, and during a session for a single produced by John Lydon, he waited until band and producer had got drunk and passed out, then scrounged up some time with engineer Mark Lusardi (protege of UK reggae legend Dennis Bovell) to do a dub mix. 

"That was my Damascene conversion," says Youth, "that was when I decided 'this is how we are going to make music', and in fact that's where we ended up doing all our first demos for Killing Joke." 

The fusion of dub, funk, punk, electronic disco and uncategorisable weirdness that resulted would define Youth's 1980s. 

Indeed part of the reason for his first split from KJ in 1982 was their reversion to rather more standard rock values. 

A connection to Pink Floyd grew naturally through his old school friend Guy Pratt, who'd joined the band in the late eighties. 

Youth became, very simply, one of the biggest producers in the world. 

As the new documentary DVD portrait of his life and activities, Sketch, Drugs & Rock'n'Roll, shows, Youth always has something on the go. 

He's been there, seen it and done it, yes: but the most important thing about Youth is that he is still doing it, with the same appetite for music and all that surrounds it as he ever had.

For more info on the new documentary on Youth 'Sketch Drugs & Rock n Rollf' CLICK HERE.


by: Mike Cobley


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